Have Twitter services attempted to censor the intimate images attributed to Benjamin Griveaux? These are in any case the accusations of social network users since Thursday evening, when compromising photo and video captures went viral online.
After the dissemination of these videos, which were not authenticated this Friday afternoon, Benjamin Griveaux gave up the municipal elections for the mayor of Paris Friday morning.
The night before, when the affair was buzzing on Twitter, his name was not visible in the most “popular” subjects (“trending topics”, abbreviated to “TT” or “Trends”) of Twitter while the images and the subject were in many tweets. An absence which, according to many Internet users, was proof of censorship operated by Twitter.
“Right out of the case, #Griveaux switched to TT France with posts every 5-10 seconds. But as if by magic (it seems to me that articles have also been deleted), this # disappeared within a minute despite the flood of tweets, “noted a journalist on Twitter, for example, before 10 pm.
“Zero tolerance” on Twitter
The trends 24 site, which lists hashtags hour by hour in France, shows that the hashtag #Griveaux was not visible in TT until midnight for most users. Note: it could be for certain users depending on their location or their areas of interest. After midnight, however, #Griveaux appeared in TT for the majority of users, without us knowing exactly why.
Contacted, the social network does not respond directly to accusations of censorship on trends. Twitter only assures the Parisian to have a policy of “zero tolerance on content of nudity not consented”, that the platform “applies as soon as it identifies content that does not respect the rules”.
The sexual nature of the publications could therefore explain this absence in the first hours of the case. The “topic” associated with the images attributed to Benjamin Griveaux was less likely to rise in trends, when the accounts and tweets which relayed them directly were often deleted in the process.
In addition, the “fashionable” subjects on the social network are designated by a fairly complex algorithm. ” The list of trends captures the hottest emerging topics, not just the most popular “, already explained Twitter in 2010.
Twitter can de-index topics
Several parameters are taken into account, such as the novelty of the subject, the variety of people who talk about it, and its lifespan. “A classic example of a very popular subject which is not a trending topic, however, is Justin Bieber. Virtually, tweets on #Bieber are still popular, but they are always the same people who tweet about them, “said social media specialist Dave Larson on his blog.
“Sometimes a subject doesn’t come up on trend because its popularity is not as widespread as you think,” says Twitter. “Sometimes it is because the speed of the conversation does not increase enough, compared to the speed of the conversation in normal times”, develops the social network.
This could also explain why the name of Benjamin Griveaux was not immediately in “TT” Thursday evening. As a political figure, the ex-candidate is mentioned every day on the social network, and probably even more often since the start of his campaign.
Twitter does not, however, base all of its content on its algorithm. The platform has a moderating power, and can in particular “deindex” subjects. In 2013, associations against homophobia criticized him for not having been effective enough in the deindexing of hate hashtags.
“Even if we prevent hashtag or content from appearing in the trend list, you may still be able to access conversations about that content on Twitter”, specifies his guide online.